Oxygen intervention in the regulation of gene expression: the photosynthetic bacterial paradigm

Cell Mol Life Sci. 2004 Feb;61(4):417-36. doi: 10.1007/s00018-003-3242-1.


The means by which oxygen intervenes in gene expression has been examined in considerable detail in the metabolically versatile bacterium Rhodobacter sphaeroides. Three regulatory systems are now known in this organism, which are used singly and in combination to modulate genes in response to changing oxygen availability. The outcome of these regulatory events is that the molecular machinery is present for the cell to obtain energy by means that are best suited to prevailing conditions, while at the same time maintaining cellular redox balance. Here, we explore the dangers associated with molecular oxygen relative to the various metabolisms used by R. sphaeroides, and then present the most recent findings regarding the features and operation of each of the three regulatory systems which collectively mediate oxygen control in this organism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Membrane / physiology
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial / physiology*
  • Oxygen / metabolism*
  • Photosynthesis / physiology*
  • Photosystem I Protein Complex / physiology
  • Photosystem II Protein Complex / physiology
  • Rhodobacter sphaeroides / physiology*


  • Photosystem I Protein Complex
  • Photosystem II Protein Complex
  • Oxygen